The African growth story is real. Over the past decade and a half, Africa has emerged as the most promising growth region, exceeding world growth by an average of 2 percentage points a year. Growth prospects for the continent remain strong. According to the International Monetary Fund, growth in Africa will accelerate to 5.5 percent in 2014 from 4.9 percent in 2013. Continued — and lasting — growth depends on sustained investment and strategic development.
Energy, in particular, is an essential facilitator of infrastructure, transportation, healthcare and education. Today, GE’s advanced technologies generate 25 percent of Africa’s gas power – and nearly 70 percent of the electricity distributed across Algeria. And yet, 90 million Sub-Saharan children have no electricity at school. No single fuel will be adequate to meet Africa’s power deficit. A mix of fuels will be needed to provide reliable, affordable and sustainable energy to Africa’s growing population and to power the development of manufacturing and industry.
The opportunities across the continent are tangible, and GE is committed to continuing our long-standing partnership in building Africa’s sustainable future. The road ahead is long, but the progress already achieved is impressive. We are optimistic. Infrastructure investment will not only serve to increase access to power and healthcare for Africans, but will promote entrepreneurship and enable Africa to compete in the global economy.
Jeffrey R. Immelt is CEO of GE.